When you look back at childhood Christmases and Yuletides since, certainly the glow of Christmas trees shines brightly in your memory. Likewise, in the history of Christmas lights, although styles and colors change, their brilliance stays steadily illuminated.
Lighting a candle
Christians lit a candle in the window centuries ago to indicate an observance of Christmas. Candles then made their way to Christmas trees, first attached to branches with wax or pins, and later hung within glass balls or little lanterns. Christmas lights today often still include real or electric candles placed in windows, as well as modern day strings of lights on the tree.
Electric illumination frenzy
Since the early 1900s, soon after President Cleveland's display of the first Christmas tree in the White House, the rush for multicolored electric lights was on for indoor trees. It took a little longer for the outside versions to appear, but they grew for over 50 years until neighborhoods full of homes participated in the frenzy of lighting everything from the tree, mantel, doors, porches, roofs and more. This trend continues today in often outrageous forms.
Ice, ice, baby
While the multicolored, big bulbs of the '60s and '70s eventually gave way to the miniature styles that are most popular nowadays, the colors and styles also shifted to a more subdued look. Today white lights of glistening icicles adorn rooflines alongside coordinating white lights on bushes, trees and even powered reindeer with moving parts.
Whatever your preference - the crystal look of freezing water, the heat of multicolored gaudy goodness in old-time two inch bulbs or the bluish sparkle of modern LED lights - the history of Christmas lights is as colorful as the season itself.